New South Wales avoided a 3-0 State of Origin whitewash with a superb team performance marred by two scuffles late on which led to them having a player sent-off and a player sin-binned.
24-year-old loose-forward Ben Creagh scored two tries to ensure the Blues at least had one victory to their name, after making eight changes from their second game defeat.
But New South Wales never gave up and Creagh squared matters with his effort five minutes later, which was then turned into a lead before half-time thanks to an unusual eight-point try.
Once more a kick through was juggled, and the ball fell kindly to Williams who was given benefit of the doubt by the video referee to be given a try. However, the referee adjudged that Thurston kicked out at Williams and awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Kurt Gidley duly converted.
A superb combined effort between Greg Inglis and full-back Billy Slater gave the Maroons of staging a comeback. Inglis ran 15 metres before chipping the ball over the top for Slater to pick up and ground.
But Creagh’s second try of the game gave the Blues an invaluable 10-point lead, which was extended to 12 by a penalty moments later.
Tempers boiled over though as frustrations continued to rise resulting in Trent Waterhouse being sent off for his involvement in a fight, whilst Creagh was also sin-binned for another scuffle with less than a minute remaining.